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On the influence of precipitation on land surface warming

PI: Hervé Douville
Institution: Météo France
While the IPCC climate scenarios suggest that global warming will have significant impacts on precipitation, these impacts are much more heterogeneous and uncertain than the impact on surface air temperature. Moreover, the detection of precipitation change over the 20th century is still a challenge for both statistical (weak signal to noise ratio) and physical (competing direct and indirect effects of increasing amounts of GHG) reasons. Given the obvious influence of the land surface hydrology on the surface energy budget, one might wonder if the multi-decadal precipitation variations simulated by the IPCC models is not a significant obstacle for the models to capture the land surface warming observed over the 20th century at the regional scale. Our proposal is aimed at exploring the link between precipitation and surface temperature at the seasonal timescale, and at using this relationship to produce new estimates of temperature trends, both in models and observations. The ultimate goal is to check if these “corrected” trends are less model-dependent and more consistent with the observations.
  • Douville, H., 2006: Detection-attribution of global warming at the regional scale: How to deal with precipitation variability?. Geophys. Res. Letters, 33, doi:10.1029/2005GL024967. Abstract. Edit.
  • Douville, H., D. Salas, and S. Tyteca, 2006: On the tropical origin of uncertainties in the global land precipitation response to global warming. Climate Dyn., 26, 367-385, doi:10.1007/s00382-005-0088-2. Abstract. Edit.

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